The Palestinian Authority has issued yet another warning to Palestinians against selling their homes or properties to Jews, saying those who violate the order would be accused of "high treason" - a charge that carries the death penalty.
The latest warning was issued on Wednesday by the Chief [Islamic] Judge of the Palestinian Authority, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, who reminded the Palestinians of an existing fatwa [religious decree] than bans them from selling property to Jews. Sheikh Tamimi's warning came in response to reports that Jewish businessmen from the US had purchased 20 dunams of land from Palestinians on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
Warning the Palestinians against engaging in "suspicious real estate deeds," the religious leader said that according to Islamic teachings it was a "grave sin" to sell houses and lands to Jews. He said that the ban also applies to real estate agents or middlemen who are involved in such transactions.
He warned that anyone who ignores the warning would be punished in accordance with Islamic teachings and would also be ostracized by his community and family. Sheikh Tamimi also issued a ban on renting out property to Jewish individuals and organizations under the pretext that they would spread moral, political and security corruption there. He said that the ban was necessary to counter the Israeli government's efforts to change the Arab and Islamic culture of Jerusalem by expelling its Arab residents and turning it into a Jewish city.
"The city of Jerusalem is the religious, political and spiritual capital of the Palestinians," he said. "The Jews have no rights in Jerusalem. This is an occupied city like the rest of the territories that were occupied in 1967." Scores of Palestinians have been murdered over the past three decades for allegedly selling their property to Jews or for acting as intermediaries in real estate deeds involving Jews. Several fatwas issued by PA [Palestinian Authority] Islamic clerics have ruled that any Palestinian who sells his property to Jews would face the death sentence.
Fatah legislator Hatem Abdel Kader, who also serves as PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad's adviser on Jerusalem affairs, told The Jerusalem Post that the new-old ban was needed to thwart attempts by the new right-wing government in Israel to take control over more lands in the Arab neighborhoods of the city.
He said that Jerusalem was facing a "fierce onslaught" by the Israeli government and Jewish settler groups. He said that Israel's ultimate goal was to change the demographic and topographic reality in Jerusalem, as well as its cultural and religious identity.
Israel, he added, is in a race against time to decrease the Arab population of the city while increasing its Jewish population.
"They want to reduce the percentage of the Arab population from 27% to 12%," he said.
He claimed that the Jerusalem Municipality and the Interior Ministry issued about 400 demolition orders for illegal houses in Arab neighborhoods of the city just last month. Abdel Kader said that Israel's measures had kept approximately 90,000 Arab residents of Jerusalem on the West Bank side of the security fence.
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